5 Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep Better

5 Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep Better

If you were to conduct a poll of new parents asking them what the greatest challenge was with their newborn, there’s a good chance sleep would be top of the list. Convincing a little one to not only fall asleep but stay asleep is a tall order, and it’s something that takes patience, practice, and a little know-how.

If you are struggling to get your baby to sleep better, then these tips could be ideal. They may even help you transform nap and bedtime.

Create a Bedtime Routine

One of the best things you can do is to create a consistent bedtime routine. Once you create it, then you need to stick to it so your baby can start to recognise the pattern. Granted, as they get older and go through different stages you may need to make changes to the routine - but the basics should remain.

Just because you understand how important a bedtime routine is doesn’t mean you know what it should entail. Here are a few things you may want to include in the routine:

  • A soothing bath
  • Storytime
  • Keeping your voice quiet during the routine
  • Putting on a sleeping or nightclothes
  • Using a sleeping bag so they are warm, cosy, and safe

This same routine can and should be used both at bedtime and naptime. The sooner your little one starts to recognise the routine, the easier things will become.

Know When to Put Them Down

There is also a bit of a trick in knowing when to put your baby down for a nap or bedtime. Sure, the time matters, but there are also some signals you want to watch for. Choosing just the right time can help them to fall asleep easier and quicker.

Some of the cues to watch for include:

  • Yawning
  • Fussiness
  • Rubbing their eyes
  • Eyelids keep closing
  • Crying

Each baby is unique, so yours may have other cues you'll need to get used to and watch for. Once they show signs of sleepiness, you want to react as quickly as possible. If they become over-tired, falling asleep will be much harder.

Set Them Up for Success

For a nap or bedtime to be successful, your baby also needs to be comfortable. This means they should have a full belly and a clean nappy. At least if they fuss or cry after putting them down, you know their needs have been looked after and you shouldn’t have to return for a diaper change.

Another way to set them up for success is to create the kind of environment that encourages rest. Sure, there is an emphasis on making their nursery cute, but it also needs to be practical.

These tips can help create a more restful environment that can help them fall asleep more easily:

  • Make sure the room is the right temperature – not too hot
  • The lights should be turned off except for a small nightlight if needed
  • Use blackout window coverings
  • Use a white noise machine
  • Ensure there are no blankets in their crib that could be dangerous for them

Don't Feel You Have to Tiptoe Through the House

One common misconception that new parents in particular have is that you need to keep the house quiet during naptime. If you find yourself tiptoeing around, keeping the television volume at barely a whisper, and you also quiet your voice - you could be doing more harm than good. Ideally, your baby should be able to sleep even through background noise. The goal is to help them learn self-soothing.

Rather than keep everything quiet, try using the above-mentioned tip and use a white noise machine. This creates a steady yet soothing noise in their room and can help mask some of the other sounds in the house. It gets them used to falling asleep without needing to be silent.

Be Realistic About How Much Sleep They Need

The final tip is to be realistic about how much sleep they need. It could be that you are expecting too much from them. Generally speaking, newborns sleep 16-18 hours per 24-hour cycle. However, some require much less - it comes down to the baby.

As they get older, the amount of sleep needed will decrease and nighttime will become a longer and uninterrupted sleep. There's a good chance that between six to 12 months of age, they will be able to sleep a straight 12 hours at night.

You Aren’t Alone

If you are having problems getting your baby to sleep and then staying asleep, you aren’t alone. It’s a struggle that the majority of new parents have, especially during the first six months. The good news is that it’s a phase and with a little work you can come out of it with flying colours.

Reading next

The 10-Month Sleep Regression - Survival Guide
A Guide to Diaper Bag Essentials - Never Leave Home Without These

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